Archive | July, 2010

Vlog 3: Three’s the Charm

31 Jul

Storytime with Leslie

30 Jul

Enjoy the awkwardness. Clearly I am more used to being BEHIND the camera.

Messy and Difficult

30 Jul

I’ve talked about hiring artists. This violinist and foreign language liberal artists were job finalists:

In the ad for the position, I had stated that we were particularly open to graduates in the liberal arts. Then, in the interviews, I described a number of tasks and projects that called for some analytical thinking and creativity.

I asked the interviewees what they had learned in their college career that might help our company. I was hoping to find people who could connect their intellectual growth in school to approaching the real-world problems and projects I had just described.

Instead, most applicants talked about specific skills they had been taught in their courses but didn’t mention the projects I had outlined. That’s not what I was looking for.

One applicant, by contrast, told me about the messy and difficult process of gaining mastery of the idiom of a foreign language and how this experience could apply to solving some of the problems I had presented. She was a finalist for the job.

(via NYTimes, “Preoccupations”)

Filling Grown Up Shoes

27 Jul

I feel too young to own a business.

I mean, this guy looks more the part of the business owner than I do.

I don’t know if it’s a complex about the type of young people who do start up businesses (in my exposure, cocky, pretentious sorts), or a complex about the responsibility of owning a business. Call me Peter Pan, I just feel like there is a big difference between working for someone older and wiser and striking out to be all grown up on my own.

Maybe I should catch you internet types up on the story of my job search. When I am not seeing a career counselor and letting the process take its course, I am busy catapulting myself through its proper steps and dreaming up a business of my very own. Which is exciting, in that all my friends have such wonderful ideas and input that they voice on an oh-so-regular basis, but scary in that I have to figure out the rules by trying (and failing), which could involve fines, the FDA breathing down my back, and potentially losing everything. That would be a super bummer.

But all journeys begin with a single step, or so the saying goes. Both Enron and Mrs. Field’s Cookies started with a single dreamer like me. Someone willing to take the risk, fill the shoes, and make something where there was nothing before. I suppose my anxieties about business ownership could be someone else’s fears of owning enough blazers to not get laughed out of the law office. Or Sarah and Ryan’s fear of cooking meals on their own. Being a grown up is just plain scary, especially when your feet are much too small for those shoes.

Higher Hires

26 Jul

“HIRED!!!” says the post.

A friend announces her newfound employment on Facebook, blasting friends and acquaintances with success. But doing so always makes a for a mix of emotions. You’re happy for your friend, even thrilled for her. But there’s a sneaking jealousy behind every post like that.

Then there is the curiosity of what job she got. Posting the emphatic “HIRED” in all-caps naturally begs the question: well, what job? where? By not posting the details, curiosity kicks in. You’re in effect asking for a friend to ask you for details.

You oblige. Onlookers now know not only you’re hired but also specifically what you’re doing. More jealousy. How did she get that job?

Finally, jealousy subsides when you realize your friend is indeed qualified for that job. You’re happy for her but that doesn’t mean you’re not sitting, hoping, waiting, wishing for your own chance to Facebook blast your own “hired” message.

The Adventures of Jobless Jack

24 Jul

I’m in Boston, with Leslie!  We’re having oodles of fun, eating potato balls (or, our valiant attempt at gnocchi) and happening upon peculiar spectacles when we go adventuring.  Like today, we witnessed a random choreographed dance outside of Quincy Market.  It was like we were living High School Musical 3.

What I really mean to say is, I haven’t had the time to sit and write a proper blog post.  But here’s a treat for you from Mark Fiore, a Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist.  Behold the Adventures of Jobless Jack and join him as he maneuvers the Economic Fun Fair.

I Think Therefore I Work

23 Jul

The current conundrum of my life is fusing the doer and thinker bits of me. For those visual learners among you, rectify these:

As liberal artists, we’ve been steeped in a dark and fancy tea of intellectualism during our educational career. We know how to research and debate, we dispute world politics and brainstorm solutions to the climate crisis. We are the think tanks and the challengers of status quo. Descartes leaks from our pores, Newton runs through our veins and Marx fires our synapses. But during that magical time called college, we are not generally the doers.

And I don’t know about you, but I want to be a doer. I want to make something–a difference, an impact, a cookie. I want to look back on my life and say, “Grandchildren mine, I did that.” And my phantom grandchildren will be suitable unimpressed and roll their eyes before running off to buy ice cream clutching too much money that I happily supply them.

The problem, of course, is happiness. Damn that sense of fulfillment and myth of wonderful forever after. Not that I’m an expert on the subject, but in order to be happy I think you need a secret blend of both intellectual stimulation and task accomplishment. Finding the job that balances the two seems to be the key to all this mess. And for me, this recipe seems about as well protected as the ingredients of Mrs. Field’s cookies. I want to work because it makes me think and think about how to make my work better, but I have no idea how become an insider in this perpetuating loop.

So you tell me liberal artists: how do you balance thinking and doing in your work life?